Edmonton Oilers’ trade deadline acquisitions have been talked about after several recent losses. With the most recent loss to the Calgary Flames in Monday night’s contest, the Oilers fell short in a 3-1 decision. Noticeably, Mikko Koskinen played well with a .897 save percentage and was not the reason the club fell short. The Oilers failed to capitalize on their powerplay chances and instead delivered high-quality shorthanded chances for the Flames.
With the absence of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi and other depth pieces, the Oilers continue to miss their offensive strength in their special teams. This develops the question: what happens going into the trade deadline on March 21?
Ken Holland spoke briefly on behalf of the organization’s goaltending tandem, and he mentioned he believes in their capabilities. Holland has failed to acquire a reliable starting goaltender starting with Jacob Markström, several seasons ago. The failure to acquire him came back to bite the Oilers in last night’s decision.
Defence has been the likely target going into the 2021-22 trade deadline as the Oilers need to quickly resurrect their energy if they plan on making the playoffs by the end of the season. They currently sit outside of the second wild-card spot by two points; however, the Nashville Predators (the second wild card seed) have two fewer games played. Edmonton sits outside of the Vegas Golden Knights by four points in the same number of games played.
Mike Smith has been simply put, horrendous this season. Smith has a .891 save percentage on the season and has won just five games out of 15. Stuart Skinner from the Bakersfield Condors has recently been recalled as Smith was diagnosed with a non-covid illness that may sideline him for some time.
Likely Trade Deadline Targets
Continuing on with the trade deadline discussion, who are the likely targets the Oilers acquire?
The names mentioned above are all possibilities Oiler management may attempt to pull off. They are all defensemen in the National Hockey League and could easily help solve any depth issues on the blue line.
Mayfield: The 29-year-old St. Louis native could provide the Oilers with some help in their own end. Mayfield is an affordable option for what he brings to the table as he is proven to have stamina while playing on average, just under 20 minutes a night. Mayfield lacks a powerful offensive side while he has just 15 points in 53 games played. He is a tough player at 6’5, 220 pounds, and would add aggressiveness and urgency into the Oilers lineup.
Soucy: The 27-year-old currently defending the Kraken’s blue-line, could certainly add his size and strength to the table. Similar to Mayfield, Soucy lacks strong offensive talent as he has 13 points in 40 games played this season. He is another 6’5 defenseman weighing 211 pounds. Soucy would simply put, be a good depth piece down the left side of defenseman.
Chiarot: Montreal Canadien blue-liner, Ben Chiarot, has shown what he is capable of over his nine-year span in the National Hockey League. Chiarot and his team last campaign went to the finals against Tampa, against all odds. Chariot is a player who could provide experience to the Oilers roster as well as a “shut-down” defender type of role. Chiarot like Soucy and Mayfield can bring aggressiveness to the table to really light a fire when the Oilers are in need of physicality.
Chychrun: The 23-year-old defenseman playing in Arizona is a top choice for most fans, however, he would cost a lot to acquire. Chychrun, as well as the rest of the Coyotes roster, has shown several issues this season, but that does not take away from the capabilities he has proven in the past. In just 56 games played over the 2020-21 season, Chychrun recorded 41 points created by scoring 18 goals. Chychrun would bring offensive upside to the Oilers as well as a very consistent defensive role. He’s a fantastic choice to bring in as a trade deadline arrival however, the cost for him would be high.
Braun: The veteran defenseman playing in the “city of brotherly love”, has displayed what it means to be a shut-down defenseman, something the Oilers have lacked since they lost Adam Larsson in the Seattle draft. Braun would be a cheaper acquisition for the Oilers, and he would bring veteran leadership after playing 12 seasons at the NHL level.
These are a few targets the Oilers franchise might show interest in moving closer to the trade deadline on March 21. If Edmonton looks to find themselves a playoff spot, acquiring an aggressive shut-down defenseman might be the best way to go, as Holland refuses to address the goaltending crisis.
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